A View of Yamashita Park and Marine Tower

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Yamashita Park with Marine Tower

Yamashita Park

The green park that we saw before we reached Hikawa Maru is Yamashita Park. The place is appropriate in such place where both locals and visitors enjoys the walks while appreciating the beautiful view that Port of Yokohama offers.

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Yamashita Park

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Hotel New Grand – at the front of Yamashita Park

Marine Tower

Marine Tower is located near where Hikawa Maru docked. Its front is Yamashita Park. The tower is considered as the tallest lighthouse in the world. We just took photos of the tower and we did not try anymore to visit its observation deck.

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Marine Tower

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Osanbashi Pier – An Imaginary Spaceship Resemblance Terminal

 

While taking snapshots of the surrounding area of Yokohama port, we cannot avoid not to see Osanbashi Pier. I knew it was a pier because we saw large cruise ships stops in the area. But without really thinking it is a pier I just thought that it was a huge space ship because of its color, shape and design, very futuristic.

 

A Visit at NYK (Nippon Yusen Kaisha) Maritime Museum and Exploring NYK Hikawamaru

NYK (Nippon Yusen Kaisha) Maritime Museum

Next museum we entered was NYK Maritime Museum. Here we spent time to see the exhibits in the museum. I saw a lot of ships display which showcases the history of NYK. We witnessed as well based on exhibits how the Japan maritime evolved through the years. Not so much photos inside the museum because it was not allowed to use a camera.

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When we bought the ticket of NYK Museum, I selected the option where it includes the NYK Hikawa Maru entrance to save a bit on our tickets.

NYK Hikawamaru

NYK Hikawamaru is a ship museum docked at Port of Yokohama in Yamashita Park Waterfront. The ship is a historical ship which at first, it was a cargo-passenger liner when it was built and during the war it became a navy hospital ship, then it returned to a cargo-passenger ship again after the war.

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Entrance to NYK Hikawamaru

When we reached the ship, we realized the ship is not just an ordinary one. For me and my family it was a huge one. Walking from Yamashita Park, we walked to the entrance of the ship and climbed up to the Deck B where the main entrance is and we showed our tickets to the receptionist. After checking our tickets, we were freely able to walk inside the ship by following the track available to visitors.

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Near the Reception at Deck B

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At Mini-Theatre near at Reception at Deck B

Near the reception area, there are exhibits of photos of the ship displaying its some historical photos. There was a mini theater where it shows some videos about Hikawa Maru.

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Walkway

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First Class Childrens’ Room

We followed the walk way and along the walkway we saw the First Class Children’s Room. In that moment, I thought a bit and tried to put myself of being one of the child of the rich people at those old times and I thought that I probably felt really lucky.

First Class Dining Saloon

Our walk continues until we reached the First Class Dining Saloon. As my minds wondering as I saw the room, I imagined we were part of the ship where most people belong to high-class societies  can be found and they were savoring their delicious food while on boarded in the ship. And I understood that time it was really expensive to be in that room, what more this time.

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First Class Social Hall

We moved on and climbed to the Deck A where we found the First Class Reading Room. Then it followed by First-Class Social Hall.

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Exhibition Room

First Class Cabin (First Class Passenger’s Room)

First Class Smoking Room

Next we saw was Exhibition Room, then First-Class Passenger’s Room followed by First-Class Smoking Room and Deluxe Cabin.

Port of Yokohama and Minato Mirai 21

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Outdoor Deck

In Deck A, the outdoor deck can be found where I enjoyed the scenery around the Port of Yokohama and Minato Mirai 21 – the central business district of Yokohama located.

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N1, N2 and N3 Deck

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Wheelhouse

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Looking Towards Yamashita Park and Marine Tower

We climbed N1 Deck, then N2 Deck where Captains Office is and climbed again in N3 Deck where the Wheelhouse is.

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Third Class Cabin

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Engine Room

After enjoying the top deck areas, we went down to Deck C. In Deck C where we found the Third-Class cabin. The Gallery is located in the same deck too. Then, I got excited when I saw the Engine Room. And it’s not a small one it’s a huge room and there’s is a track we followed as well to go around the Engine Room. And there’s more, the Deck D, still housed the other parts of the Engine Room.

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Exhibition Room

The last portion that can be found in the ship is the exhibition room that showcases the rich history of Hikawa Maru.

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In the end, we were satisfied that we visited the ship. Being inside of that ship was a worthwhile because it was a tour like going back in time. Knowing that this kind of ship were already available in 1930s, proves that Japan already in advance technology of shipping and cargo lines. And that made me admired them for their developed talents and skills.

Enjoying the Open Space of Zuo-No-Hana Park

As I am following the trail in my Triposo mobile application, we enjoyed our walk along the way. Before we reached Yokohama Brick Warehouse, we enjoyed the walk within the port. We passed Yokohama Customs Museum and Kanagawa Prefectural Government Building

Yokohama Customs Museum

Yokohama Customs Museum (from Zuo-No-Hana Park)

Kanagawa Prefectural Government Building

When we reached  Zuo-No-Hana Park or Zuo-No-Hana Terrace which is an open air plaza within Port of Yokohama, here we enjoyed lots of beautiful view around the port.

Views captured from Zuo-No-Hana Park where can see Osanbanshi Pier, Minato Mirai 21 and Red Brick Warehouse

Zuo-No-Hana Park / Zuo-No-Hana Terrace

After enjoying the picture taking and sceneries in Zuo-No-Hana Park,  facing the bay, we turned left to visit the historical Red Brick Warehouse.

Yokohama Red Brick Warehouse – From Custom Houses To Cultural and Shopping Complex

After Zuo-No-Hana Park, we walked towards Red Brick Warehouse building. On our way, we crossed the bridge and we saw Minato Mirai 21 in different angle.

Minato Mirai 21 while crossing the bridge to Red Brick Warehouse from Zuo-No-Hana Park

Red Brick Warehouse is one of noticeable building structure around the Port of Yokohama. Both because of its color, old design of the building and its location in an open space in the port.

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Entrance

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When we entered the Warehouse #2 (based on the brochure I have), we discovered that the building are full of shops, restaurants, diners and cafeteria. We had lunch at the 1st floor of the building where the food court is located and they call it as Picnic court where I saw a lot of people. My whole family enjoyed our lunch. Then, we walked around the building to see different stores until we reached the balcony. The balcony is one of the spots in the building that I enjoyed because of the sceneries it offered which is the surroundings of port of Yokohama and a great location for up close and personal view of Minato Mirai.

Sceneries while at the balcony of Warehouse#2

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We haven’t visited the Warehouse #1 as the building used in exhibits and events.

I also learned that the building is a historical building in the city which used as a custom houses before. The building or warehouse #1 which is the shortest building among the two was partially destroyed because of Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923.

Up Close of Minato Mirai 21 and Dropping By at Kanagawa Prefectural Museum of Cultural History

Minato Mirai 21

We continued our walk from Nippon Maru Memorial Park until we reached the JR Sakuragicho Station. For me it was a great walk as the surroundings is really refreshing for me. Like what I experienced when my sister and I walked towards Ginza during our first night in Japan, the walk was relaxing since it still morning. The climate is not hot and just right for a good walk in the city. While we were quite a bit far from Landmark Tower, it was an amazing view of the surroundings which later I just learned that the central business district of Yokohama is called Minato Mirai 21 which means “Port of the Future in the 21st Century”.

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Kanagawa Prefectural Museum of Cultural History

We crossed the Ookagawa River or Ooka River and followed the road until we found the Kanagawa Prefectural Museum of Cultural History. The museum was the former Yokohama Specie Bank (a Japanese founded bank which has a significant role in Japan-China trade during 1880s as per Wikipedia). The museum’s displays focuses on the history and culture of Kanagawa Prefecture. We went inside to check what we can see, were only able to had a glimpse in the first floor where some photos of the prefecture are displayed.

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Nippon Maru – A Training Ship And Its Memorial Park

As we followed the walk way after getting off the Landmark Plaza, we saw a classic ship just outside the plaza. The ship is one of the few classic ship that I saw in my travel adventures. It has similarity in the Enterprize ship that I boarded when I was in Melbourne in terms of both of them can sail through the directions of the wind. Nippon Maru was way bigger and a bit more modern compared to the Enterprize.

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At first I did not know the name of the ship, since I am using an app in my mobile phone, I just discovered that the ship is called Nippon Maru. I also learned from brochure that I got that Nippon Maru was a sailing ship for training which built in 1930s.

The ship is actually open for visitors but we never get inside as we were overwhelmed and overjoyed in the city as soon as we started strolling around. The park where Nippon Maru is docked is called Nippon Maru Memorial Park. Beside the said classic ship is Yokohama Port Museum. Same with Nippon Maru, we did not get inside in the  museum to maximize our limited time in the city.

A Transient Walk In Queen’s Square Yokohama And Discovering of Mok Mok Wak Wak Yokohama Yo Yo

Queen’s Square Yokohama

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Queen’s Square Yokohama (from the outside)

As we ascended from Minatomirai station to the 1st floor of Queen’s Square, all the stores were still close, since it’s still a bit early for the mall to open. We took the escalator, I can sense that the area has a bit of elegance and glamour. The ambiance that surrounds the place was also relaxing as the mall is spacious when we reached the 1st floor. We walked a bit in the Queen’s Square, then we went outside towards Landmark Tower.

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On the way to the 1st Floor of Queen’s Square

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Queen’s Square

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Elegant Directions

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Outside Queen’s Square to Landmark Plaza

Mok Mok Wak Wak Yokohama Yo Yo

Between Queen’s Square and Landmark Plaza, we found a silver or chrome structural art. It is a magnificent roller-coaster-esque sculpture. As per map that I got, the structure is not only an art display, it has a purpose too. The art helps to break the wind tunnel that forms between the Landmark Tower and Queen’s Square Skyscrapers which still good to know. The public art is called Mok Mok Wak Wak Yokohama Yo Yo.

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Queen’s Square (from Mok Mok Wak Wak Yokohama Yo Yo)

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Mok Mok Wak Wak Yokohama Yo Yo

An Express Ramble Between Landmark Plaza And Landmark Tower

Landmark Plaza

After spending time taking photos with the steel structure art called Mok Mok Wak Wak Yokohama Yo Yo, we walked in to the next mall called Landmark Plaza just beside Queen’s Square and based from the brochure that I got, the plaza is one of the most popular shopping complex in the city. Like the Queen’s Square mall, we just passed the mall too as all the shops are still closed.  At the ground of the plaza, we spent time walking around the area and we took some souvenir photos because the mall has open space in the middle where it boast the elegant design of its floors up to the ceilings together with its pillars that supports the building. The mall is just beside the Landmark Tower.

 

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Photos outside Landmark Plaza

 

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Some photos inside Landmark Plaza

Landmark Tower

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Entrance to Landmark Tower

During the trip, we thought that we can visit the tower later that day. Because of that, we decided to visit the tower as our last place to stop. But unfortunately, the day we spent it Yokohama was not really enough to see all the places recommended to visit. The opportunities we have in this tower was only to see it from the outside.

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Landmark Tower from the outside

A Day Walk in Yokohama – Popularly Known as Port City of Japan

It was Saturday and our second day in Japan. I had my itinerary for that day but initially I was having second thoughts on the plan, it’s just that too many places that I wanted to see for a short period of time. But since I can’t decide of places that will replace the activity for the day, I ended up following the plan that I created which was to visit Yokohama.

Yokohama is the second largest city by population (according to Wikipedia) in Japan following Tokyo. I think one good reason of being one of the largest city  aside from being near or beside Tokyo as its strategic location is also because the city is part where Tokyo Bay is located. Currently Tokyo Bay was heavily industrialized where a lot of development occurred and Yokohama progressed along with it.

Based on history, Yokohama tremendously affected by what Japan called Great Kanto Earthquake in 1923 and World War II bombings which impacted the development of the city.

Seeing the city with my very own eyes, if there are historical evidence of war in the place or ruins of earthquake, it may not be evident to the sights and places that we visited during the day trip. The whole day that myself and my family spent in Yokohama was indeed a worthy visit.

From Kayabacho Station, we took Tozai Line to Nihombashi Station, we transferred to Ginza Line to Shimbashi Station and from the same station we took JR Tokaido Line going to Yokohama Station. Around 10AM, we reached Yokohama Station, from the station we took Tokyu Toyoko Minatomirai Line which is a local train in Yokohama. We used the Passmo card in the local train.

We reached Minatomirai Station, we got off the station and we found ourselves inside the mall, wherein the Queen’s Square is just at the top of the station. I felt excited because it seems that there’s something exciting to discover in the city.

Hidden Panorama - Yokohama

During our visit in the city, the places we saw in Yokohama were:

1. Queen’s Square and Mok Mok Wak Wak Yokohama Yo Yo

2. Landmark Plaza and Landmark Tower

3. Nippon Maru Memorial Park

4. Minato Mirai 21 and Kanagawa Prefectural Museum of Cultural History

5. NYK (Nippon Yusen Kaisha) Maritime Museum and NYK Hikawamaru

6. Zuo-No-Hana Park / Zuo-No-Hana Terrace

7. Yokohama Red Brick Warehouse

8. Osanbashi Pier

9. Yamashita Park and Marine Tower

To be honest, one day was not enough to see everything in the city, seeing all the brochures that I got, there are more places that I wanted to enjoy and discover. I hope I can comeback again wherein time is not really a constraint.

It was a great day spent in Yokohama.

Tokyo SkyTree – A Lookout Window to Tokyo and Beyond

After enjoying our time in Sensoji Temple, we saw Tokyo SkyTree from the ground. My sister and I were wondering what Tokyo looks like from the tower. Then, without really planning to visit Tokyo SkyTree we randomly decided to try it and found ourselves together with our parents on our way to the tower. From Sensoji Temple area, we walked towards Asakusa Station in Tobu Line and took train to  Tokyo SkyTree Station.

 

After we reached Tokyo SkyTree Station, we asked few people for some directions and then followed the crowd as it seems that most people were visiting Tokyo SkyTree tower. While following the crowd, we passed floors from 1st to 4th floor and we just used escalators,  the 2nd and 3rd floors are called Tokyo Solamachi which we haven’t really explored as we were focused to reached the top of the tower. When we reached the 4th floor we saw the very long queue that were waiting to buy their ticket. I started to get worried and nervous because we had few hours left for SkyTree.

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We approached international visitors booth that we saw, I thought to myself, there may be some hope to bypass the long queue for foreign visitors, there’s a woman guide standing near the booth and I asked her if we can buy the ticket at the foreign visitors booth, she confirmed that we can and we felt relieved. The booth is dedicated for international visitors. This means that we do not need to be burden with the long queue just to buy the ticket. And in few minutes of waiting we had our ticket and we queued in the elevator together with other foreigners.

 

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Sumida and Taito Tokyo Area

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Ueno Park from Tokyo SkyTree

 

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Chuo Tokyo Area

 

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Arakawa Tokyo and Adachi Tokyo Area

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Sumida Tokyo Area

 

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Sumida Tokyo and Katsushika Tokyo Area

 

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Sumida Tokyo, Edogawa Tokyo and Koto Tokyo Area

 

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Koto Tokyo Area

We arrived at Tembo Deck with an altitude from the ground of 350 meters. The deck was pack of people in every corner of viewing window, just realized how many people were there like us too curious to see Tokyo from above. At the deck there is cafe, shop and restaurant that visitors can indulge with while enjoying the scenery at the top. My family and I spent our time taking photos together every time there’s empty glass window with the view of Tokyo.

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Tembo Deck, includes floors from 340 to 350. While Tembo Galeria has 445 and 450 which is the highest point that the visitors can go inside Tokyo SkyTree. The ticket for Tembo can only be bought at Tembo Deck. At that time, I decided not to buy  the ticket anymore as I saw there’s a queue as well to go up and this will consume our limited time.

We arrived at 350 and this means to see other parts of the deck, we descended to 345 and 340 floors. At 340, we found the glass floor to experienced watching the ground from it.

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The nearby Special Ward in Tokyo are visible from Tokyo SkyTree. The following Special ward that we saw from the top are: Sumida, Taito, Chuo, Arakawa, Adachi, Katsushika, Edogawa and Koto.

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A bit of information that I learned about Tokyo Skytree tower that made me realise how amazing the tower is. It is the Tallest Free-Standing Broadcasting Tower in the world. It also received the Guinness World Record – World Tallest Tower in the World last 2011. It is also recorded as second tallest structure in the world after Burj Khalifa in Dubai.

Asakusa – Home of Famous Sensoji Buddhist Temple

From Ameyoko, we continue our stroll and we never noticed immediately that we reached Okamachi Station which still along JR Yamanote Line. Because we are looking for some souvenir products that we can bring home, we decided to go to Asakusa. From Okamachi Station we went back to Ueno Station. Then, we switch train line to Ginza Line and got off at Asakusa Station.

What I was only expecting when arriving at Asakusa area was to find a market with a lot of Japan souvenirs that we can buy as it seems the name of the place is quite famous for it. Outside Asakusa Station, I already liked what I saw. As we walked along in an alley near the station with half-dome glass roof, I observed that the place is indeed a tourist destination, as each alley has stores lined, up to its end.

Half-Dome Roof Walkway

We followed the half-dome roof walkway, to look for a place to have our lunch, after our lunch we walked again until a our feet brought us to where most of the crowds are going and coming from. Few minutes passed, we found a nearby market on the way to the temple and we discovered that the temple is Sensoji. The temple was in my list when I’m doing the itinerary plan, but I not realized that the temple is in Asakusa area.

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Asakusa Nakamise Shopping Street

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Asakusa Nakamise Shopping Street (Facing Kaminarimon Gate)

Asakusa Nakamise Shopping Street (Facing Hozomon Gate)

We continue our walk, we followed the crowd until another shopping street existed before Hozomon Gate, I learned later that the shopping streets is called Nakamise. A lot of people, I can say a crowd of people are passing Nakamise. A lot people were kept on looking and buying stuff and I myself enjoyed the street while passing it going to and coming from the temple.

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Sensoji Temple Map

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Hozomon Gate

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Main Hall (Kannondo Hall) Hondo

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Interiors of Main Hall (Kannondo Hall) Hondo

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Five Storied Pagoda

Yogodo Hall

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Awashimado Hall

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Nitenmon Gate

Asakusa Shrine

After passing Nakamise, the first structure to see is the Hozomon (Niomon) Gate. It followed by the Main Hall (Kannondo Hall) of the temple. The other significant structures to be found within the area are Five Storied Pagoda, Yogodo Hall, Awashimado Hall, Nitenmon Gate and Asakusa Shrine.

Bronze Statue of Uryu Iwako

Tomb of Toda Musui

Bronze Hokyoin-to

Aside from halls, we found some tombs existing in the vicinity of the temple:

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Kaminarimon Gate is the gate structure of the temple before reaching Nakamise.

Ueno Park – One of Japan’s First Public Park and Once Kaneiji’s Ground

Ueno Park

Ueno Park

From Tokyo Station, we took JR Yamanote Line to Ueno Station. We got off at Ueno Station to visit Ueno Park. The park entrance is just beside the Ueno Station and because of this no one will ever miss the park by any visitors. We checked the map and search for things we can see around the area. There are lots of places to see in the park and all these places had their own entrance tickets. Because that day was our last day in Tokyo, we wanted to make a wise decision because we wanted to see more places as we can in a limited time that we have.

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Grand Fountain

Day Market

Tokyo National Museum

Therefore we decided to walk around the park and not to enter to any museums. Near the entrance we passed the The National Museum of Western Art Tokyo. Next, we saw the Grand Fountain wherein at the time of our visit, beside the fountain was the temporary day market. As we walked further we found The Tokyo National Museum. During that walk I used Triposo app to see if we can see interesting areas in the park aside from museums. Facing The Tokyo National Museum main entrance gate, we turned right and found The Ueno Rinnoji Temple (Rinno-ji Ryodaishi-do) which is a Buddhist temple which enshrined two priest. The temple is part of cathedral of Kaneiji temple. Beside Rinnoji temple, the Kaneiji Temple Imperial Cemetery. After taking few photos around the temple we walked back towards The Tokyo National Museum until we were near the Gate of the Inshu-Ikeda Residence known as “Kuromon (Black Gate)”.

The Ueno Rennoji Temple

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Kuromon (Black Gate)

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Kuroda Mermorial Hall

In the same corner of Kuromon, we saw Kuroda Memorial Hall. The hall was part of the estate of Kuroda Seiki which considered as father of modern western-style painting. Kuroda Seiki offered the part of his estate to be used for furtherment of the art.

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Kaneiji Temple

From the corner, we turned right and walked until we found the Kaneiji Temple. Kaneiji temple is also a Buddhist temple. I just learned that the whole Ueno Park are grounds of Kaneiji which converted into the park after it was destroyed during civil war and the temple has been relocated to where it is now. We spent time for taking photos in the surroundings of the temple and left to continue our stroll in the park.

Prince Komatsu statue

Ueno Park – Famous in Cherry Blossoms During Spring Season

We walked back to the center of the park by taking the same path we took on the way to Kaneiji Temple. After reaching the Kuroda Memorial Hall again, we walk the pathway where we found the Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum. We passed the main gate of more than century old Ueno Zoo. Along the way we saw the statue of Prince Komatsu. According to Wikipedia, Prince Komatsu Akihito was a member of Fushimi-no-miya, one branches of shinnoke of imperial family of Japan and eligible to Chrysanthemum Throne if the main line died out.

Benten Gate

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Bentendo

Some Fish found in Boat Pond

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Boat Pond

We walked in the middle and main walkway of the park. The said pathway is the famous area for sightseeing during spring season where visitors expecting  cherry blossoms. In the nearby area we found the Benten Gate and Benten Hall which surrounded by ponds such as Uno Pond, Boat Pond, Shinobazu Pond and Hasu Pond. Benten Hall was dedicated to Benten a goddess of good fortune, wealth, music and knowledge.

The Shitamachi Museum

From Benten Hall we walked towards The Shitamachi Museum (Museum of Down Town Customs). The said museum was dedicated to its traditional culture of Tokyo’s Shitamachi.

Ameyoko

After leaving Ueno Park, we walked in the nearby market called Ameyoko (a short name of Ameya Yokocho – candy store alley). Based on history the market was black market before second world war where most of American products were available. But even this time, it seems that if follows the history, because the said market still selling lots of various western products and common store sellers are not local Japanese but foreigners.

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Akihabara – A Quick Glance of Tokyo’s Game and Anime World District

After watching sumo tournament in Ryogoku Kokugikan, we spent some time in Akihabara to check what things can be seen in the famous place. From Ryogoku Station we took Chuo Line to Akihabara Station.

Near in Akihabara Station

My thoughts about Akihabara is a place of manga and anime. Where all the famous anime or cartoons from Japan can be seen. There are lots of stores selling anime character products such as posters, cards, video games, electronics and others. There are lots of computer game shops in the surrounding areas where not only accommodating for young but adult fanatics too, since it was evening when we arrived in Akihabara, we just had a limited time to stroll around the place. We went inside of one of the electronics mall named – Yodobashi-Akiba.

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Along Chuo-dori

The mall has 9 floors and just spending time inside this mall will consume mostly of our time. We found a lot of electronic stuff inside the mall. As we entered the mall, the first things we saw are mobile phones, tablets and computers. Next, we continued to the 2nd floor where mostly are PC accessories and printers. We stop a bit in 3rd floor as I saw a lot of digital cameras, I was looking for different lenses for my Canon DSLR and wanting to buy one but I did not. We climbed again to the next floor which is 4th floor where we saw mostly music related products such as head phones, the last floor we visited was the 5th floor, even though there still up to 9th floor. At 5th floor, we saw a lot of household products. We’re almost wanted to buy things but we stop the idea as we knew the customs in my country where you will be tax heavily for the products bought outside the country. We just enjoyed looking at difference products displayed in the mall.

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We felt hungry and decided to leave the mall and find a place to have our dinner. After our dinner, we decided to go home as it’s getting late and we concluded our day.

Ryogoku Kokugikan – One of the Home of Most Ancient Japanese Sport

At first I had this impression that Sumo Wrestling or just Sumo was kind of violent sport. Yes I am aware that it is the traditional and national sport of Japan, without really knowing stuff about it, I was curious how this sport is being played. I visited sumo site prior to traveling to Japan and found that during our travel in Japan there will be Grand Sumo Tournament. I saw in one site the Sumo ticket sale will be available soon. I booked the ticket at the 1st day of ticket sale. And to be honest booking the ticket was already an experience because the box seat tickets near the center for most of the 15 days tournament were immediately sold out in a matter of hours. And because of that I immediately bought 1 box seat (4 people) to make sure we have seats in one of the days that the sumo tournament is happening while we are in Japan. I was glad that even there’s not much festivals happening during our visit (September is low peak month of visitors) at least we can watch the most ancient Japanese sport – The Sumo.

We watched sumo on our 4th day in Japan and it was Monday. I planned that day to just watch Sumo as I wanted to balance the itinerary that we have for the consideration of my aged parents. That day, I allowed all of us to regain long rest as the main event of the Sumo was scheduled at 2PM in the afternoon that day.

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Rikishi (Wrestlers)

From hotel, we took train from Kayabacho Station and transferred to Akihabara Station and took Chuo Line going to Ryogoku Station and got off at the same station. From that station, we walked few minutes to Ryogoku Kokugikan. We found that a lot of people were at the front gate and noticed that people seems waiting for something or someone as people were lined-up to both sides like there some parade coming, until we realized that some of the Sumo Wrestlers are coming. We felt excited too when we saw them. I got excited because our activity that day is uniquely a Japan culture.

I brought the printed order ticket at Ryogoku. Before passing the entrance, we saw the booth beside it which designated for tickets bought online. And then, I requested for help from assistant which just standing by at the booth. With the printed document I have in my hand, we were able to retrieved the tickets after verifying the credit card I used to order the ticket online. Before entering the gate, there’s a big announcement that the ticket was sold out for that day. It was a good relief that I bought ticket online. It secured us that day for guaranteed seat to be able to watch Sumo comfortably.

When we entered The  Kokugikan Sumo Stadium, we felt good, we saw the human board of famous Rikishi (wrestler) at the entrance and even though we don’t know them, we stand beside them and took our photos. When we were inside the stadium before entering the sumo arenas, people are going back and forth and most of them are buying food in the surrounding stores inside the stadium. We did the same thing, we bought lunch boxes for all of us. When were done buying and looking around, we went to the door nearest to our seat.

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Riskishi (Wrestlers)

Sumo arena are divided into two, the lower ground is called box seats while the balcony or upper level are called arena seats. The ticket that we bought were in the box seats and the unique experience we had in box seats was were going to seat in the floor with cushion and we will sit in Lotus position where we cross our legs.

At the center of the stadium we found the Dohyo, a stage with circular ring on it and with suspended roof similar to the Shinto shrine with four giant tassels hanging to each corner that signifies the seasons of the year (information from Sumo official website).

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Rikishi’s (Wrestlers) Bouts (preparation time during warm-up period)

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Rikishi In Action

We waited for almost an hour before the tournament started. And then the sumo arena were filled with people. When we enter the stadium and went to our assigned box seats, there were some Rikishi that are fighting in the Dohyo. I got a paper for the Torikumi or Sumo Bouts for 2nd Day. From the paper that I got there were two bouts, one is Juryo and one is Makuuchi. Based on my understanding in Banzuke (Banzuke-hyo – offical document of rankings of professional sumo wrestlers) Sumo rankings, the upper division of Rikishi is called Maku-uchi which includes the five positions of Rikishi order from highest to lowest rank: Yokuzana, Ozeki, Sekiwake, Komusubi, and Maegashira. The lower division includes Juryo, Makushita, Sandame, Jonidan, and Jonokuchi. As per Sumo official site, below Makushita ranks does not get to wrestle on each day of tournament. The tournament for day actually started in the morning and low ranking Rikishi bouts happen on that time. The main event of bout starts in the afternoon which includes Juryo and Makuuchi bout.

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Juryo Dohyo-iri Ceremony

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Juryo Dohyo-iri Ceremony

Past 2PM that day, the main event started when Juryo Grade did their entrance both from East and West teams (please take note that Rikishi from different team does not fight for team, the fight does not have any relations which ever team the Rikishi belong) did their colorful dohyo-iri or “entering the ring” ceremony. I saw all Rikishi in queue wearing their kesho-mawashi (ceremonial aprons) and climbed to the dohyo. Each Rikishi, when they were all in the Dohyo did their short ritual ancient in sumo tradition wherein they raise their hands. That ritual is very unique which I really enjoyed watching.

After the Juryo Dohyo-iri ceremony, it followed by Juryo Bouts. We witness their bouts and my family enjoys the ancient sports of Japan.

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Juryo Grade In Action

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Dohyo Sweeping

I also observed that the Dohyo was frequently swept after the bouts and after Rikishi’s entrance ceremony, it was mentioned that Dohyo was made of special kind of clay and covers some think layer of sands, this is the reason why few people assigned to swept it.

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Shimpan (Judges)

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Gyoji (Referee) at the center

My curiosities were not only focus to the Rikishi who fough inside Dohyo. Other people were also noticeable such as the judges of sumo which called as Shimpan and the referee whose inside the sumo stables are called Gyoji. As I watch the fight of Rikishi, I learned that sumo is a sport where the wrestler aims their opponent to be out of the ring or their opponent parts of the body touch the ground aside their feet to be able to win the game.

After the Juryo Bouts, it followed the Makuuchi Dohyo-iri Ceremony. The whole stadium was jam pack of people which signifies that people are more curious of the Makuuchi’s fight as I understand that being included in Makuuchi ranking is really important in this sports.

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Makuuchi Dohyo-iri Ceremony

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